Synopses & Reviews
In this analysis of lower-class life in Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868), Gary Leupp vividly portrays the emergence of an urban proletariat during a time of extraordinary economic change. With the rapid increase in commercial activity, products previously restricted to use by the elite became commodities for mass consumption. Likewise, labor power became a commodity as hired laborers replaced traditional corv e workers in the commercial realm and contracted servants supplanted lifetime, hereditary workers in households. Focusing on a class system mediated increasingly by money, Leupp explores the ways employers and employees dealt with each other and the steps taken by government officials to control rising hostilities.